Addressing the sublime scale of the microbial world: reconciling an appreciation of microbial diversity with the need to describe species

I. C. Sutcliffe*, R. Rosselló-Móra, M.E. Trujillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There are fewer than 20,000 prokaryotic species with validly published names, meaning >99% of a reasonable estimate of microbial diversity remains formally unnamed. Here we explore the damaging consequences of the current practice in which each new species is described in a standardized publication, most typically a 'single strain species description'. This approach is both an impediment to scaling up progress in naming the microbial world and also a significant factor in the poor reputation of the discipline of microbial taxonomy. We conclude that significant changes in author habits are needed and make constructive suggestions as to how author practice should adapt.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100931
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNew Microbes and New Infections
Volume43
Early online date13 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

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